LOS ANGELES (AP) - LeBron James scored 23 of his 31 points in a dominant second half, and Dwight Howard added season highs of 21 points and 15 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' ninth consecutive victory, 128-99 over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday (Jan 13) night.
James added eight assists while passing Isiah Thomas for sole possession of eighth place on the NBA's career list. The longtime Cavaliers superstar led a decisive run during the third quarter and poured it on in the fourth for the Lakers, who still have not lost since Christmas.
Los Angeles won its third straight game without Anthony Davis, who is out with a bruised backside.
Kevin Love had 21 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland in the third stop of a six-game road stretch. Two days after the Cavs posted a surprising win at powerhouse Denver, they couldn't keep up with a franchise icon who hasn't slowed down since he moved to the West Coast.
Returning from a one-game absence with an apparent case of the flu, James improved to 2-0 against the Cavaliers since he departed for the second time in 2018. James had 32 points and 14 rebounds in his return to Cleveland in November 2018, and he was injured last January when the Cavs beat the Lakers at Staples Center.
Tristan Thompson had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland. Collin Sexton and Darius Garland added 16 points apiece.
Cleveland jumped to a 14-point lead in the first half while most of the Lakers played listlessly, but Los Angeles ran away from the middle of the second quarter onward.
James, who passed Thomas with his 9,062nd assist, is the NBA's leader with a career-best 10.7 assists per game while molding himself into a virtuoso playmaker alongside Davis.
While James took control with 12-for-16 shooting, Howard capped another outstanding game in his bounce-back season with his ninth career 3-pointer in the fourth quarter.